Today's Episode


Hi and welcome to another episode of the Jessica Cooke podcast.

Let's get stuck straight in today.

I want to chat to you about um how to build a life without regret.

And I'm super excited for this episode.

I am chatting to you today.

If you're feeling unhappy stuck if you feel like you're not living the life that you are feeling in your heart that you want to live.

If you feel like your habits and your action steps at the moment aren't aligned with what you want.

I want you to know that you're not alone and that I was there for very many years.

In fact, I only recently feel like I can look around me and really feel deeply that I'm, that I have no regrets with what I'm doing now that I'm living a life that I'm truly feeling blessed with.

And that was really truly only from the very beginning of 2022.

That's when I started my journey of learning how to live a life without regret and then living a life without regret.

Um and I followed some steps and it's these steps that I want to share with you today to help get you out of a stuck place that you may be feeling at.

I got to a point at the beginning of 2022 where I knew I was going to look back when I got older and have regrets.

And it drove me to make changes in my life.

I was at a place in my life at the beginning of 2022 where I realized that my habits and my actions weren't very aligned with the person that I so desperately wanted to be.

For example, I was drinking too much alcohol alcohol had way too much importance in my life.

I had placed way too much importance on alcohol in my life.

It was there at every celebration.

It was there at every meal out.

It was there at every single Friday night.

It was there for every single, late late show.

It was there for every Graham Norton show.

It was there every Saturday night.

A hangover was there every Saturday morning.

A hangover was there every Sunday.

The residue.

The feeling that alcohol left me with was there every Monday, every Tuesday.

And the anticipation of drinking alcohol was there every Wednesday and every Thursday only for me to go right back and start it all over again on Friday.

I knew I would regret this so much.

I knew I was missing out on what it meant for me to be and feel truly alive to wake up at the weekends and get my slippers or my flip flops, which I prefer to wear on and go out to the garden with a cup of coffee and close my eyes and hear the birds and feel that beautiful fresh air that Renville in Galway does so well and to smell the sea and to feel like, oh, I can't wait for what today brings as opposed to how I'd been feeling, which was get up, wake up hung over, slowly, open my eyes and feel desperate.

Here I go again.

I know how this works.

I'm going to wake up dying.

I'm going to have a cup of coffee just to feel 1%.


I'm going to eat my breakfast and that's going to make me feel a bit better and I'm probably going to eat too much of it because I'm so hungover and I'm going to get outside to escape the noise of the house.

And I'm going to sit in the back garden and I'm just going to isolate and feel like I'm escaping because I need to escape how bad I'm feeling.

I knew I was going to have regrets there.

I also knew that I was sick and tired of being stuck in a bloody weight loss cycle.

I was sick to the back teeth of thinking and talking and learning and reading about weight loss.

I was sick and tired of feeling on my body on a Monday morning and wondering have I done much damage?

Can you feel it on my stomach?

I was sick and tired of, of tying my whole worth into how I looked and my body, I was sick of it.

I knew there had to be another way.

I was never really massively into fashion or make up.

And I was, I always leaned more towards natural, natural in nature and yet I was feeling so bad in myself.

My focus was really on make up to cover my skin because I felt so unhealthy and my clothes not feeling right.

So me thinking, ok, Well, what kind of clothes can I wear to make myself feel better?

And I was thinking about things that I wasn't really that into because I was trying to fix how I was feeling and how I was looking.

And I was just so sick of the whole cycle.

I knew there was more for me, for me.

And I knew I was living a life with regret.

I knew I was going to look back and regret.

Stuck in the small stuff, the tiny stuff about body image and how we view our bodies and our faces and makeup and clothes and alcohol.

I just knew I was going to look back and go.

What, where was the growth?

Where was the progress?

Where was the feeling alive?

Where was that vitality and energy gone?

Just going around, stuck to wine, stuck to food, stuck to complaining about the food that I've eaten.

I was just sick of it.

I was sick of everything I was doing.

I was sick of having no connections and no hobbies and just working and distracting myself through work.

And then at the weekends, distracting myself through maybe buying something.

I was sick of that.

I was sick of it.

And I could see that's what a lot of society and marketing wants us to do.

Just be stuck in this cycle.

I wanted to feel more in line with myself and closer to nature and more authentic and do things differently.

Do things my way.

And I just got to the point where I was sick of it and I wrote down these things, health habits, finances, career, connections, hobbies and family.

And I realized that I was unhappy with all of them.

My health was shite, it could have been better.


I was working out and obsessing with food but that, that's not healthy when you're in that bubble that the weight loss industry wants you to be in.

You think you're being healthy when you're just eating less and moving more.

But I wasn't, there were so many other aspects to my health that I didn't even know about my habits.

No, unhappy with that.

My finances.

No, I was spending money in places that I didn't want to spend and then with the money I could spend, I wasn't doing it on the things that I wanted to do.

It was just small little habits that I didn't want, I didn't want to go into town every weekend and purchase clothes or purchase things.

It didn't even make me feel good.

I wanted out of that career.

Yes, I was happy but I wasn't happy in the sense that I knew there was more I could give.

I knew I hadn't really hit the bull's eye yet with, with what I knew was inside of me and what I wanted to share with the world and how I wanted to help women because I wasn't fully there in the area that I myself wanted to be.

Yes, I was a fitness coach and yes, I was helping women get fit, but there was more burning inside of me.

So, from a career point of view I didn't feel fulfilled in the sense that I hadn't cracked the habits that I wanted to help other women with fully connections.

No, so bad at connections.

No friends isolated myself.

Of course, I had one dear friend, isolated myself a lot.

Didn't put myself in situations where I could meet new people.

I was too scared.

I didn't feel good in myself.

My confidence was low.

I overthought every conversation and I didn't feel comfortable meeting people.

I was at that people pleasing face in my life phase in my life where if I life or if I had to meet people, I just wanted to make sure that they were ok and that they were getting something out of the conversation.

I didn't care about me.

That was all I cared about.

So I can't, I couldn't even remember.

I did remember.

Actually, I did remember what it was like to have that wonderful connection.

And I would just look back on my school days on my school friendships and go wow, the fun we had.

I look back so fondly on those days and those wonderful friendships that I had in secondary school and feeling like your friends or your family and being so close to them, they meant everything to me.

They meant everything to me and I felt like I hadn't really truly had that since.

And a part of it for me was that I had just become so unhappy in myself that I had just, like I mentioned, not allowed myself to find that true connection where you're having fun and you're sharing different things and it's just not all one sided and you're not being all this like polite.

Um So you get to the point where you prefer to just spend time by yourself.

Um My hobbies, I didn't have any and my family, I just knew we were just getting by, you know, I knew there was more for us.

I knew there was more fun we could have.

So beginning of 2022 was, was just a massive turning point for me.

It was the day, the time I decided that I was building a life full of regrets and I wanted to act now.

So I've written down for you 12345670 89, 10 steps, 10 things that I did that transformed my life and I'm being deadly serious here.

I'm not exaggerating, transformed my life from the inside out.

And it only took from the beginning of 2022 to I would say, um I'm not going to say up to now because I felt like so truly happy um middle of last year.

So it took what 18 months to change everything.

Um, so stick with me as I'm going to be sharing with you the exact steps that I did.

So, number one, number one, how to build a life without regret, you have to super figure out where you're at.

You have to be honest.

This sounds really obvious, but it's a very painful exercise.

And if you're anything like me, like if my accountant gets in touch or I have to talk about va or taxes or any of that stuff, I just want to run the other way.

I just want to hide under a cover.

And like, back when I first started out in my business, that's what I did.

I would just hide from all these big scary things that I didn't want to face up to.

Um, I don't do that anymore.

However, I do know it's, it's, it's an area of my personality that I need to watch that I can sometimes not confront things.

So it was a big scary thing for me to sit down and say, where am I at?

Where am I actually at?

And be factual about those areas of my life, those areas of my life, what I wrote down for me that worked was my health, my habits, my finances, my career, my connections, my hobbies and my family.

Where are you at?

So write it down.

This is what I did.

I just wrote it down on a piece of paper.

Where am I at?

No emotion, not, this is good, this is bad.

Just where are you at?

And then number two, what was I happy with?

And what was I unhappy with?

And I told you I was unhappy with all of the areas, health habits, finances, career, connections, hobbies, family.

I was unhappy with all of it.

So I had to write out on, on, in my journal, I'm unhappy with this and the reasons why I'm so unhappy and why I wanted to make a change.

I was genuinely so worried that I would be involved in a car crash before I was able to fix any of this.

Honestly, I was afraid that I would die with people not knowing who I really was.

And I wanted to leave behind a legacy that I could be really proud of.

So no excuses, no feelings.

What do you want to change?

And you have to be super brutal if you're going to be light and gentle about it.

And I have done this with myself all the time and sometimes I can hear people doing it to me and I've done it when I've spoken to Joe or other people.

And it's like, oh yeah, you're kind of a little bit honest.

You're like, I'm, I'm unhappy with this, but I'm not that bad or I do this, but it's not that bad.

Like you don't need to say that or think that you just write it don't be afraid just like, I'm not happy with this and don't worry about the outcome for now, but you don't need to like, make it glossy or make it better than it is or put rose tinted glasses on it.

You can just be brutal and there's great freedom with that.

It's this real, there's a real lovely feeling of authenticity when you just are brutal with all the aspects of your life that you're unhappy with.

Don't forget to write out the things that you are happy with.

Um So number three is to write out your goals, you've got to write out what your actual goals are just pretty much, you've got to write out where you want to go.

Don't be scared of the word goals.

It's just like where do you want to go?

So you, you want to like direct yourself rather than let life and what happens direct you.

That really is the only choice we have, we can take charge of our lives.

Um What the minority of people do or what the majority of people do is they can kind of be led, be, be led by what happens around them and then react to that.

Whereas I really want for myself and for you is to take charge um and write out your goals, write out your goals for each section, um Write out your goals, write it on a corkboard, write it in your notebook because you might be making changes and tweaks to it.

So I love it when I put post it notes on my cork board at home.

I can kind of be like, oh, actually that's not a goal at all.

But I wrote out all my goals for my health, my habits, my finances, my career, my connections, my hobbies and my family.

Like, what are my goals in each of those?

Like I wanted to be fit and healthy, my healthy habits, I didn't want to drink alcohol anymore.

I didn't want to comfort it anymore.

Like I had all these goals tied into each of those kind of main areas of my life connections.

I wanted to get out there and meet people.


I wanted to have at least one hobby within the next six months, that kind of thing.

Um, and then step number four is you have to, then what I did was put action steps to each of those goals.

So for example, if we took hobbies, I was like, ok, so I have to have a hobby within the next six months.


What are my action?


Get onto Google.

Step number one, Google, um, clubs near you, Google.

Hobbies for over 40 near you.

And I came across pickleball.

And so before I get into what I did, it was like, ok, so email the person answer the email, turn up when they say you can turn up, like break it down into steps if I had have just written my action steps, like, find a hobby.

I never would have done it, but I had to actually, like, very gently break it down so small to my small for myself or I wouldn't have done it because I was so scared because remember when you're drinking too much alcohol and you're overeating and you're feeling really low in confidence, you're scared to do the smallest of things.

I mean, I wouldn't be half as scared these days now to get onto Google and to contact somebody and be like, can I show up at your studio at two o'clock on a Monday for your beginner's day?

But back then it was like my hands were shaking as I typed and then when I found the man's phone number, um, theo to, to call him to see, could I start on a Monday at 10?

I was shaking and I know I've shared you in this podcast episode before, but it was pickleball that I went and decided to do and the morning of my first pickleball session and I know this for some of you will sound crazy.

Um I sat in the car and I cried and I rang Joe and I was like, I can't do it.

I can't go in.

I'm so scared.

What if they're not nice?

What if they don't want me there?

And, um, yeah, when you, when you're feeling bad in yourself, these, these fears are real they are real and they stop you from doing what you want to do.

The only way to do them is to go and do them anyway.

So scared.

Yeah, I cried in the car.

Yeah, I rang Joe and was like, oh, I'm so scared to go in.

So what, who cares?

Didn't I go and do it and come out the other side of it.

So you need to be solution focused when you're writing your action steps and you need to attack the roots.

So, um writing out your avatar like the person you want to become and attaching action steps to that is really important.

The action steps need to be solution focused.

So when you're sitting down with your action steps, you don't want to be like, um I want to eat healthy.

It has to be like action steps, specific action steps, I'm going to eat three meals every day and hydrate myself.

Well, like they have to be super specific.

So you'll actually go ahead and do them.

Um And remember that the sections that I wrote down, um, are health habits, finances, career connections, hobbies, family.

So like what action steps like with my family?

It was like board night, board game night, spend 1 to 1 time with the kids, um, go baking with Emily once a week, spend time with Arthur.

Make sure you're playing football with him in the park.

Like fun things, things that I want to do I wasn't just making a horrible to do list that stressed me out.

I had to be in line with myself.

Um The fifth thing was that I committed to getting to the root cause of the problem.

So one of my goals was to give up alcohol.

I didn't want it in my life anymore.

So rather than me just try and attempt every month to get rid of alcohol like action steps, stop drinking.

I decided to go on a journey of discovering why I drank alcohol and that was like an action step.

Um get to the root cause of the problem.

Um And like also with my healthy habits, I realized that I was overexercising to overcompensate for food.

I'd eaten.

So I was doing that rather than addressing the reason why I was overeating, which was a lot of it was stress and anxiety.


So why was I stressed out and anxious not do more exercise because you're not losing weight, which is what I think a lot of people do and it's really messed up.

Um But the weight loss industry keeps you trapped in that.

And I've just the last podcast episode um is on that episode, 162, what the weight loss industry, the bad habits they want to keep you stuck in.

That's episode um 161162 if you want to listen to it after this.

Um So, so committing to getting to the root cause of the problem is step number five.

Step number six, having a really simple plan, I knew for me to be successful, my plan needed to be simple, to keep me focused and to keep me on the root cause of the problem so that I wouldn't get distracted and I wouldn't like do these cool habits for a certain period of time and then stop them.

So I created a plan for myself that incorporate healthy habits that were about turning inwards and reducing stress and anxiety.

So that every week, I was making sure I was keeping on track of tackling the real problems.

And this turned into thrive times, which is, which is a 10 minute practice.

What I do with my clients, you see when you drop all the weight loss industry, things that don't serve you anymore and you learn how to love yourself again and you find these new habits, you need something in your life that's going to keep you grounded and peaceful and calm.

So I came up with thrive times and um and yeah, so that's step number six, having a simple plan that incorporates everything into your plan that will help you change these areas in your life that you want.


Um Step number seven is to review, reflect and plan if you just set goals and action steps and you decide that you want to change these areas in your life and you don't review and reflect and plan, you're not going to be successful because distractions are going to get in the way to get around this.

You need to once a week or once a month or fortnightly review your action steps, make sure you're still in line with the goal aligned with the goals that you have set for yourself.

You need to reflect on the week on your behaviors, on your action steps, on your patterns and then you need to plan based on that evidence that you've, that you've just uncovered that you've reviewed and reflected on.

You need to plan then ahead and you may need to do some tweaking, like, oh, that habits not really working out very well for me or I signed up to that hobby and I'm not really enjoying it very much.

So I'm going to switch hobbies, that kind of thing.

And then for my last few steps, I just wanted to give you just some fun things that have helped me.

Um, number one is to compartmentalize, make sure that when you're working towards your goals and your action steps that you're actually, uh, having fun and living in the present and focusing on other areas of your life too that are in the present.

I remember years ago when I signed up with a fitness business, like agency, um, like, like a big group, loads of fitness businesses were in it and the coach in there was really terrific and I learned a lot from him, but it was all about setting these massive goals that stretched you so much and um that kept you very obsessed and kind of out of your comfort zone style things.

And I have a big problem with that now because in hindsight, it just makes you stressed out and it makes it all you think about and you're unable to enjoy your life.

So now when I have goals and action steps, yeah, of course, they're part of my life.

However, I do also compartmentalize the things that I'm working towards.

And I also have had to learn how to also live in the present and enjoy what I have because all I have is now and all we have is now.

So it's finding that lovely happy balance of enjoying the present moment and living in the present while also being able to make room for having goals and setting action steps based on your avatar in my experience.

The only way you can do that is if you're having fun doing it, the second it becomes a chore or something negative.

Um It, it, it just loses all fun and you just don't want to do it anymore.

And that's really demotivating.

Um My last couple of tips is to what what worked for me is that I focused on authenticity.

That was my word of the year for 2023.

I decided to really focus on saying what I meant saying how I felt.

And that sounds simple.

However, if you are a people pleaser or you've been used to censoring or silencing yourself because you don't like confrontation and it's such a habit that you don't even know you're doing it.

There is a lot of internal work for you to do there for you to learn how to speak up, to say what you mean to say how you feel without trying to control the outcome.

Like not saying what you mean, I think.

But it's ok da da da because I went through that phase too.

I said I would say how I meant or say how I felt and then go but it's ok.

Da da da da da.

No being ok to sit with that discomfort, the horrible and comfort feeling.

People pleasers out there who sorry were not people please.

The people pleasers listening in now, um who you may have people pleased in the past before your behaviors now may be people please.

You know what I mean?

When I say how difficult it is to sit in the discomfort of saying something that it's just how you feel but not then going.

But that's ok.

Don't worry.

And it's just this need to try to want the other person to feel better or feel ok with what you've just said.

And that is just awful.

I, I empathize so much with people that are still doing that.

It's, it's awful.

It's taken me a very long time.

I'm still on a journey of trying not to control outcomes of trying not to control atmospheres of letting there be a shitty atmosphere of letting there be a pause after I have said something, if somebody's had to digest something that they don't particularly want to hear, that's ok.

I'm speaking how I feel.

I'm saying how I feel.

That's, that's a big, big part of it, believing in yourself and building up your confidence as you go is huge.

It's difficult to do all these changes when you have no belief in yourself.

However, you don't have to have 100% belief in yourself.

Now, at the moment to get going on this, if you just have a small belief in yourself, if you believe somewhere deep down, there's a little glimmer of hope that you think you might be able to change.

That's enough.

Don't worry if you're scared or if you think you mightn't be able to do it just if there's a small part of you that thinks you can grab onto that, that's all you need and take small little action in the right direction and just go slow and go steady and my anchoring.

What, what helped me a lot was if I like, stayed grounded in my authenticity, then I could take things in small steps and I did things slowly and it's what I tell my clients all the time to just go slow and steady what doesn't work for me is overwhelming myself with change or new goals and new action steps.

I actually work really well with small little bits of change, consistency built up over time with these, with these habits and then that builds my confidence that helps me believe in myself.

Um And you make a change, not putting any time pressure on it is really important and just allowing yourself to change over time and you know what you have got this, you are going to do this.

Um I hope you enjoyed this episode and if you enjoyed it, I would love for you so much to um share it with somebody who you think might love this episode.

It's my mission to help women over 40 get fit healthy and find the freedom to love themselves again.

And just by you sharing this episode will help so much in that mission.

Have a wonderful day.

And thanks for listening.

Thanks for listening to another episode of the Jessica Cook podcast.

Did that go by way too quickly or is it just me if you want more, you can head on over to Jessica Cook dot IE forward slash playlist, answer four easy questions and get a unique to your goals.

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